Joslyn Rose Lyons is an award-winning director, writer, producer, and filmmaker whose films have been featured on Showtime, Paramount, Starz, Lionsgate, streaming platforms, and at film festivals nationally and throughout the world.

Joslyn was selected as a finalist by The Academy for their fifth Academy Gold Fellowship for Women, and she was invited by The Academy to be a Guest Panelist on their Gold Rising Program - committed to amplifying narratives by, about and for women and underrepresented audiences. Additionally, she was invited to be a Guest Speaker at USC's School of Cinematic Arts and hosted the 2023 WIF (Women In Film) panel with her producing partners Hill Harper and J. Alphonse Nicholson.

She has directed and produced a number of music videos, and films with artists including Ice Cube, Mahershala Ali, Common, Boots Riley, Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs, E-40, Wu-Tang, Chad Hugo/N.E.R.D, and Vince Staples. Her first documentary “Soundz of Spirit” premiered at Urbanworld Film Festival and picked up Best Music Documentary at the New York International. Joslyn directed the first Music Matters showcase at CAA for the Grammy's with Mack Wilds and PJ Morton, and for the BET Awards she produced Celebrity Basketball with Nick Cannon, Chris Brown, Angela Yee, Fat Joe, Jemelle Hill, and Lil Rel Howery.

Her work as an impact producer extends to a number of critically acclaimed social justice documentaries including "Barbara Lee: Speaking Truth to Power", (Lionsgate/Starz) featuring Barbara Lee, with Ayanna Presley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Alice Walker, Van Jones, Cory Booker, and Danny Glover. Joslyn teamed on the film release with #TakeTheLead, Starz's commitment to amplifying narratives by, about and for women. The film won the 53rd NAACP Image Awards for outstanding documentary.

She directed a documentary short film for Grammy, Emmy and Academy Award Winning artist Common and his Imagine Justice organization - dedicated to empowering communities and fighting injustice. She created and executive produced a two-part special “Same Energy” for Uninterrupted/SpringHill featuring Marshawn Lynch and 2-Chainz. Joslyn is the producer of "Tale of the Tape", which takes an unabashed look at the role The Mixtape played during the growth of Hip Hop with Kendrick Lamar, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, and J. Cole.

Her short film "Looking Glass" was invited to premiere at Sundance London, picking up Best Short at The American Film Awards, and TopShorts Best Female Director. She picked up Best Director Award at the 7th edition of LA Independent Women Film Awards for her short "Butterfly Boxing", which premiered at Essence Film Festival, and stars Hill Harper and J. Alphonse Nicholson.

Joslyn's feature-length directorial debut, "Stand", (Showtime/Paramount), is an examination of the extraordinary journey of pioneer activist and basketball prodigy Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. The documentary features Steph Curry, Steve Kerr, Shaquille O'Neal, Jalen Rose, Mahershala Ali, Ice Cube and more.

She is an Academy Gold Fellowship for Women Finalist, a member of the Alliance of Women Directors, and is represented by Creative Artists Agency.

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Joslyn Rose Lyons Discusses her Script 'Shadowbox' for Cannes Film 2024
What is your project about?
"Shadowbox" presents a narrative immersed in magical realism, unfolding within a city where dreams lie dormant and gentrification casts its shadow over struggles. Featuring an ensemble cast, the film delves deep into their collective journey through a landscape where past mysteries intertwine with present adversities. As the story unfolds, the pulse of the community resonates, inviting viewers on a mesmerizing voyage through the intricate dance of intertwining forces.

What are your ambitions with your project?
My vision is to create a cinematic piece that transcends the conventional narrative, merging the tangible with the magical to illuminate the silent battles fought in the face of change. I aim to evoke a deep emotional connection, prompting viewers to reflect on community, dreams, and the unspoken magic that surrounds us.

Tell us something about your plans for shooting? What do you hope will pleasantly surprise you?
I envision a creative process layered with innovation and spontaneous moments of cinematic magic. The aim is to capture the essence of magical realism in a way that's never been seen before, using unconventional techniques and an inventive visual language that I hope will bring unexpected depth to the film.

For what group of spectators is your film targeted?

"Shadowbox" is a sotry that it is told by finding those edges, where we find the extraordinary in the ordinary. It will resonate with anyone drawn to narratives that challenge, and inspire a deeper contemplation of the world within and around us.

Why should distributors buy your film?

Distributors will find in "Shadowbox" a unique blend of captivating storytelling and visual magical realism, set against a backdrop of meaningful social commentary. Its innovative approach and universal themes of resilience and community are at the intersection of independent indie art house film with a message that has wide-reach.

How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film?

"Shadowbox" is a visual narrative that intertwines with the spoken word to redefine boldness in exploring the depths of human connection, dreams, and the power of memory and time. Opening up the portals of enchanting possibilities of the unseen world.

Why did you decide to become a filmmaker?

I was drawn to filmmaking as a medium that combines art, storytelling, and innovation to explore and express the complexities of the spiritual journey. The possibility of creating worlds that provoke thought, spark us to dream, and ignite imagination is what inspired me to embark on this path.

Who is your role model?

I am inspired by so many artists, and writers.. author Gay Hendricks, the book "The Alchemist", light and installation artist James Turrell, Barry Jenkins, to name a few. Their masterful blend of reality and fantasy serves as a guiding light in their work, crafting narratives that both captivate and challenge audiences. Their stories resonate deeply, speaking to the soul and inspiring my own creative journey.

Which movies are your favorites? Why?

Films like "Do The Right Thing," "Amélie," and "Moonlight" are exemplary in their extraordinary storytelling and visual artistry. They skillfully navigate the delicate balance between darkness and light, weaving tales that are as thought-provoking as they are beautiful.

Where do you look for inspiration for your films?

Inspiration springs from the world around me, the unseen stories of communities, the resilience found in the human spirit, and the boundless realms of imagination. Literature, art, and the subtle nuances of everyday life fuel my creative vision.

Which topics interest you the most?

Themes of identity, inner quest, and the undercurrents of societal change deeply resonate with me. Delving into how individuals and communities navigate the ever-changing landscapes of their lives provides a ground for storytelling, building, and dreaming.

What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career?

As "Shadowbox" continues to take shape, the journey of realizing its unique vision against all odds stands as my proudest accomplishment. The anticipation and support it has received affirm the transformative power of storytelling that dreams.

What do you consider most important about filming?

The essence of filming lies in its ability to capture the fleeting magic of the human experience, transforming it into a shared narrative that can touch souls across time and space. It's about creating a visual poetry that speaks the unspoken, revealing the extraordinary in the every day of our lives.

Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best?

A dynamic array of techniques, emphasizing the fluidity between reality and the mystical. Techniques that allow us to play with light, shadow, and time will be pivotal.

How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking?  

I am inspired by current filmmaking, particularly those that push the boundaries of storytelling and visual artistry. Films that blend reality with fantasy, captivate my interest and help me see things in a new way. Because when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. .

What can disappoint you in a movie?  

When it lacks depth in storytelling or fails to evoke emotional resonance. I value films that challenge preconception and inspire.

Who supports you in your film career?

My friends, artists, mentors, those who share my passion for storytelling. Their encouragement and collaboration fuel my journey and contribute to the realization of my vision. A short list connected to the journey with this project include Hill Harper, J. Alphonze Nicholson, Matthew Head, Salena Rochester, Johanna Saldana, Erika Conner, Dominique Mouton, Simone Leonora, Lisa Alice, Don Lacy, my DP Nick Mahar and AD Ryan Bremond! ... and my partners at Women in Film Los Angeles & SF, Film Fatales, and the Alliance for Women Directors.


Film by Joslyn Rose Lyons

Shadowbox is a sweeping fable, employing magical realism to chronicle a city threatened by gentrification and at risk of losing its dreams. Rose runs her family's Bookstore, but her power to see the magic in her community pulls her toward a higher calling. Cash guzzles painkillers to dull an old boxing injury while his brother Amari pushes him to keep fighting for money to keep their Pops' Boxing Studio alive. Ace and Jaden, life long friends, find themselves at a crossroads as Ace falls deeper into Cash's drug business and Jaden dreams of becoming a jazz drummer. When LIB, an alluring Luxury Living chain, moves into town, the Boxing Studio and Bookstore face eviction. Rose struggles to make sense of her dreams and galvanize her community into action. She encounters shapeshifters and alchemists such as Lizard, whose golden bicycle opens portals to the past, and Ant, the last gypsy of the city, roaming the streets with his suitcase full of dreams. These visions inspire Rose to see the extraordinary potential in her community - a soulful beauty that verges on magic. But as Rose nears her light, so does she also find the shadow - nefarious forces hellbent on destroying her city in its sleep. Can Rose decipher her dreams in time? Will the sleeping city ever wake up?